Staff Editorial: Tulane students must engage in New Orleans politics

Despite hailing from cities across the globe, college students in New Orleans have a unique opportunity to influence local politics, regardless of where they are from or where they are registered to vote. With this opportunity also comes a certain level of responsibility. Being an informed voter is crucial now more than ever, especially in a city whose politics may be unfamiliar.

It is the responsibility of voters to educate themselves on the issues that shape the city. Out-of-state college voters cannot simply carry over political views from their hometowns and apply them to New Orleans politics, and even those students registered to vote in their home states should be well-versed in the pressing political issues that affect them, their peers and the citizens they share a home with while at school. Students must be respectful of the fact that while their presence in New Orleans may be limited to four years or so, the impact of their votes and voices lasts much longer.

Resident priorities and even political party values can change drastically across the country. What it means to be a Democrat, Republican, conservative or progressive greatly shifts across state and district lines.

In Louisiana, Republican candidates hold a 27 point advantage, whereas in New York, a state from which many Tulane students hail, Republican candidates are at a 2 point disadvantage. The standards and tolerance for “liberal” versus “conservative” policies associated with different parties is extremely relative to location.

Even moving from city to city reveals vast ideological differences. For instance, Louisiana is on the whole politically conservative, yet Orleans Parish voted primarily for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election

Aside from the nuances of local politics, college voters must educate themselves about the issues that locals hold close to their hearts. In the upcoming local elections, environmental concerns, education reform and crime will surely be heavily-discussed subjects. These issues, while of great local importance, are nationally relevant, and Tulane students should be aware of the ways in which such issues impact their own lives and the lives of those who call New Orleans home for all 12 months of the year. 

Students supporting Democratic New Orleans mayoral candidate LaToya Cantrell will be registering other student voters from all party backgrounds at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday on McAlister Drive. Sept. 13 is the last day to register to vote in person or by mail, and Sept. 23 is the last day to register to vote online

Staff Editorials are written weekly by members of the Tulane Hullabaloo Board and approved by the full Board by a 2/3 majority vote.